Improving Customer Communication

Even the most successful contractors have to deal with customers who may be challenging to sell to. Chances are these customers aren’t doing it on purpose, but either way, it costs your business time and money. Here are some common situations everyone has to deal with at one point or another and how to overcome them. 

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Looking For A Price

If you have a potential client who has said they are just looking for a price, it’s easy to dismiss them as future customers. But by asking the right questions, you can get a better understanding of where they are in the pipeline. Asking questions like “when are you looking to have the project completed by?” will give you a good idea of the time frame of when they want the project finished. You can also use this to make sure your available during that time. If they say they need it next week, but you’re booked out for eight weeks, you won’t waste any time doing an estimate that won’t fit your schedule.

Asking About Money

Many contractors don’t know how to ask about the financial plans for the project. By asking a customer if they are planning to finance or how they will be paying can help you understand if the price might be an issue. Someone who says they have cash in hand generally means they are at the point where they need to find someone within the budget. They’ve thought about it and done their research, and now it is just finding the person for the job.

“When Was The Last Time…”

Your sales tactics can give you a great idea of the timeframe of a project. By asking things like “how long have you owned the home” or “when was the last time you had this done,” you get an idea of what the project might entail. If the gutters have never been cleaned or the house hasn’t been painted in 15 years, it will take you longer than if it had been done more recently. Knowing this gives you an idea of complications you might run into and how expensive the bid is going to be.

Picking Out Materials

An excited customer is a sold customer, so make sure you ask if they have materials, colors, or styles picked out for their projects. And if they have a Pinterest board, even better because visuals sometimes tell you what a customer has a hard time putting into words. Either way, this helps gauge how serious and excited they are about the project. 

It can also help you determine a project timeline and allows you to show off your expertise by establishing yourself as a trusted source in the industry. If they haven’t picked them out, offer to bring over samples, give suggestions on products you like, and see if they have any questions. Relationship building with your customers will help you close the sale, always. 

Not Ready To Hire

Sometimes, a customer’s home improvement plans just take a little longer than usual. Even though you’ve got everything ready to go, they aren’t there just yet. In these situations, follow up is key! Keep them in your database. Ask them what their time frame is and when would they like for you to follow up and do it. Set up a system to follow up with your leads after 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days to check if they are ready to get started.

 If they tell you, “I need to wait for my tax refund,” saying something like “I totally understand, how about I give you a call in March and see where you are.” is a great way to establish that follow up communication. During that time, send them a mailer, add them to your email list, and make sure you don’t just drop the ball. You want to keep your business on their mind until they are ready to start the project.

Competitive Pricing

A frequent response is that a homeowner can find a service cheaper. But don’t let that get in your way. Address the concerns and be respectful. Responding with, “I understand that price is a deciding factor. If you go with someone cheaper, just make sure they are insured like we are,” gives value to your service even if it’s not immediate.

 It could also be helpful to explain to them why you don’t cut corners on the price of your project; especially when it comes to using high-quality products, guarantees you provide, and insurance coverage. Let them know that if it doesn’t work out with someone else, to still give you a call because you would love to pick the project back up.

You can also use this as an opportunity to negotiate maybe. Know your value, but don’t let them walk all over you. Ask what price they had in mind, and if you can, meet them in the middle. For example, if they had $1800 in mind and your quote was for $2,000, can you meet them at $1900? Keep in mind that saying they can find someone cheaper might be their way of seeing if you can go down in price a bit.

Whatever pushback you may receive from a potential customer,  be prepared to overcome their objections. Sometimes you have to read between the lines and understand that sometimes not asking the right questions makes it seem like customers are wasting your time. Asking qualifying questions will help you turn your leads into customers and save you a lot of time.